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UPS Plans US Vaccine Pilot Project To Venture Into In-Home Health Services

UPS Plans US Vaccine Pilot Project To Venture Into In-Home Health Services
With a new venture in to the healthcare segment, United Parcel Service Inc is now planning to expand beyond simply delivering parcels in the United States.  
According to reports, a pilot project that would see the company dispatching nurses to vaccinate adults in their homes to vaccinate adults in their homes in the US is being planned by the largest package delivery company of the world. The new venture for UPS was prompted by the cost pressures and competitive threats posed by for the company and its clients in the healthcare segment.
The nature of vaccines that would be used for this project were not disclosed by UPS. However, the drug and vaccine maker Merck & Co has reportedly told the media that it would be a part of the project.
The aim of the UPS is to dominate a larger share of the $85 billion outsourced healthcare logistics market in the US according to analysts and market experts. This industry segment is dominated by Deutsche Post’s DHL Group and the segment is anticipated to touch $105 billion by 2021.
“Over-the-threshold services is where the world is headed,” Chris Cassidy, who was hired by UPS last year from GlaxoSmithKline PLC and is tasked with managing the strategy of the company with respect to the global healthcare logistics market, told the media in an interview.  
The selected vaccines would ship the vaccine to one of the more 4,700 franchised U.S. UPS stores after being packaged at the million-square-foot healthcare complex at Worldport of the company, according to reports. Collection of the insulated package, delivering them to the “last mile” patient’s home and administering the vaccine would be undertaken by home health nurse contracted by UPS’ clinical trial logistics unit known as Marken. According to reports, viral illness in adults would be targeted by the vaccines.  
Wes Wheeler, chief executive at Marken, said that the aim of the test project is to “see if we can connect all these dots”. UPS had acquired Marken in 2016 and the company is in overall in-charge of the vaccine project of UPS.
This new venture from UPS is being launched at a time when the parcel delivery industry is anticipating a drop in business because of a global slowdown in economy and because of rising rivalry in the industry from customer-turned-rival Amazon. It won special logistics wing and network is being created by Amazon in order to cut down on the huge costs that it has to incur because of delivery of millions of packages to homes of customers.
Amazon is also providing competition to the clients of UPS in the health care segment even as the industry is under political pressure in the US because of alleged higher than justified prices of drugs.
Amazon, the largest e-commerce firm in the world, has joined hands with Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase & Co with the aim of reducing costs of prescription drug for the employees of the three companies. And the purchase of specialty online pharmacy PillPack last year by Amazon for an estimated $1 billion had rocked the industry.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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